Lady Buffs fall at the buzzer in LSC Championship

A layup from Midwestern Stateâ??s Dianna Jones as time expired in overtime gave the top-seeded Mustangs an 85-83 victory over third-seeded West Texas A&M Saturday evening in the 2013 Lone Star Conference championship game. With the loss, the Lady Buffs fell to 20-12 on the year, while Midwestern State improved to 23-5 and claimed the leagueâ??s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The loss snapped the Lady Buffsâ?? league-high eight-game winning streak.

â??I couldnâ??t be more proud of this group, but also couldnâ??t be more disappointed for them,â?? head coach Krista Gerlich said. â??We were in a position to win and for whatever reason it didnâ??t get done. I am so proud of where this team has come and they are the closest thing to the true definition of a team I have ever been around.â??

WT will find out its NCAA postseason fate Sunday at 9 p.m. CT as the Division II Womenâ??s field is announced on

â??Itâ??s been two years since weâ??ve played in the conference championship game and this team has gotten WT womenâ??s basketball back to where it is supposed to be,â?? Gerlich added. â??This team had so much heart and dedication this season and they are a family.â??

In a great game from start to finish, WT junior Devin Griffin stole the ball and junior Casey Land was fouled with 30 seconds left in overtime and the Lady Buffs up 81-80. Land nailed both free throws for an 83-80 lead. Dianna Jones tied the game at 83 with a triple with 17 seconds left.

After a timeout by WT, an errant pass gave the ball back to MSU with six seconds left as Jones hit the game winner for the Mustangâ??s second LSC Tournament championship in school history. WT is the all-time winningest team in LSC tournament history as they now are 11-6 in 17 championship game appearances.

Jones was named LSC Tournament Most Valuable Player, while Griffin and Land were also named to the all-tournament team.

WT was led by a career-high 32 points from Griffin as she was 12 of 22 from the field, 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 6 of 9 from the line. She tallied her 11th double-double of the season and second in the tournament. Land tallied 20 points as she was 8 of 14 from the field and 2 of 7 from beyond the arc, while sophomore Chontiquah White had 13 points on 5 of 10 from the field and 3 of 5 from the line.

The Lady Buffs shot 52.6 percent for the game on 30 of 57. They were 7 of 15 from beyond the arc and 16 of 22 from the line. WT pulled down 33 rebounds and 15 on the offensive end along with 16 assists and eight steals.

MSU was led by Jones who had a team-high 23 points on 8 of 15 from the field. She was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and 3 of 5 from the line. Kirsti DeGelia added 19 points, while Shatoia Gober had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Mustangs shot an even 50 percent for the game on 30 of 60 from the field. They were 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and 20 of 28 from the line. MSU pulled down 29 rebounds along with 14 assists, one block and 10 steals.

A bucket from Shambreka Jones and a steal gave the ball back to MSU with 1:15 left in regulation, however Land came up with a big steal with less than a minute remaining. Griffin tallied her career-high 32nd point for an 81-80 lead with 40 seconds left.

As MSU melted the clock, Dianna Jones drove inside and kicked out to DeGelia who launched a triple at the buzzer than went off the front of the iron sending the game to overtime.

Following the final media timeout, White came back into the game as she had been on the bench since the 14-minute mark with four fouls. White was fouled in the lane and made one of two free throws with 2:32 left for a 76-72 lead.

WT held a double-digit lead for much of the first 10 minutes of the second half and the old fashion three-point play by Griffin pushed the lead back to 10 at 65-55 with over eight minutes left as the Mustangs started to gain some momentum. However, Griffin nailed a triple for a 68-57 lead at the other end.

WT took a 47-37 lead into half as it played one of its best halves of the season shooting 18 of 30 from the field for 60 percent. The Lady Buffs knocked down four of nine triples and went 7 of 11 from the line. WT had 15 rebounds in the first half, including six on the offensive end along with nine assists and four steals.

Griffin led the way with 18 points at intermission as she was 7 of 11 from the field with a triple and went 3 of 6 from the line. White had 10 points in 11 minutes, but committed two fouls so she was on the bench for a majority of the rest of the half. Land had nine points on 4 of 8 from the field and a triple.

The Mustangs shot 13 of 24 from the field for 54.2 percent and were 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. MSU was 8 of 11 from the line and had 11 rebounds along with six assists and two steals. Jones had 11 points on 4 of 7 from the field and 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

WT held a 20-12 lead in points in the paint and made the Mustangs pay for their mistakes outscoring them 12-6 in points off turnovers in the half which saw three ties and seven lead changes. It was the first half time lead for the Lady Buffs over Midwestern State since a 39-38 lead in Wichita Falls Jan. 11 2012.

Despite the loss the Lady Buffs put together a great run to the championship as they started the season 2-7 overall and came on strong finishing winning 18 of their final 23 games.

â??I donâ??t know how you look at our body of work and not see we are one of the best teams in the region,â?? Gerlich said. â??I think we have shown we can play with the best and took the No. 2 team in the region to the wire. We have put ourselves in a position that someone is going to have to have some really valid reasons for us not to play next weekend.â??